On October 13, the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) introduced The New Library of Cambridge University’s Magdalene University as the 2022 Stirling Prize winner. Regarded the most prestigious architecture award in the United Kingdom, the once-a-year prize signifies a significant laurel for designers Níall McLaughlin Architects. For a developing created to final four centuries, however, it may amount to a historic footnote.
Positioned together with Cambridge’s 17th-century Pepys Library, the 1,525-square-metre making replaces a cluster of cramped study spaces with an ethereal, breathable — and ebook-crammed — facility that’s open up to college students 24 hours for each day. Framed by a brick facade, the library’s tall chimneys, gabled pitched roofs and wooden-framed windows reflect the articulation and materiality of the Tudor-period surroundings.
Behind the stately wood front doorways, the mild-stuffed inside unfolds in tall, ethereal areas and soaring wood ceilings. Previous a triple-peak entrance hall, the library’s looking at space is a tranquil centrepiece.
Along with the bookshelves and study spaces, the Magdalene College library also characteristics an archive and an art gallery, with the interior areas all structured all over a normal, repeating grid of brick chimneys that guidance the timber floors and provide normal ventilation through the setting up. A critical structural and visible ingredient, the chimneys also assistance the vaulted lantern skylights that flood the room with normal light.
The emphasis on normal lighting and passive air flow also makes certain both minimized energy calls for and a decreased embodied carbon footprint — the latter also realized many thanks to an engineered timber composition.
The new Magdalene Faculty Library is an aesthetically timeless constructing of understated modernist sensibilities and contextual deference, but also one particular that reflects how we feel about — or ought to consider — about architecture in 2022.
“The light-loaded, heat-wood interior lifts spirit and fosters connections,” claims RIBA President Simon Allford, speaking on behalf of the Stirling Prize jury. “Students have been gifted a serene sequence of linked areas the place they, and long term generations, will be equipped to contemplate and congregate, savoring it equally collectively and apart. The overarching motivation to create one thing that will stand the take a look at of time can be felt in just about every content and detail, and from each individual viewpoint. This is the epitome of how to develop for the extensive-term.”